The Berith crisis spread to Agnus. The masses urged him to yield the Stone of Life, and the media further encouraged them by convincing and defending the public’s attitude. It was an abnormal flow. There was no certainty that the Stone of Life could drive Berith away, and the public had no right to demand that someone give up their private property. So, why was Agnus a target?
The experts analyzed this.
『 You reap what you sow. In the meantime, Agnus has been famous for his PK. In order to monopolize the hunting grounds and fulfill his own quests, Agnus slaughtered players for selfish reasons. There are many people who are afraid of him. He is a suitable target to be a scapegoat. The public’s anxiety and fears—which have been called unavoidable despair—need hope to be resolved, and Agnus was chosen as the subject of hope. 』
『 It doesn’t matter to people if the Stone of Life is effective or not. They just want to share their insecurities and fears with others. Agnus is a good fit for the target. 』
Kraugel headed to the Haken Kingdom along with Kirinus and Spear Saint Rachel. As the night deepened, Kraugel logged out while the two people were sleeping, and he became unnerved. He felt disgusted when he heard the story of Agnus, which had been a hot topic lately.
Reap what you sow? It was nonsense. The PK was just a good excuse to buy people’s hatred. PK was a system that used both the strong and weak as needed. It was the PK system that protected one’s rights, interests, and self-esteem, making it loved by many people.
Those who were talking on the news panels right now would be the same. PKing wasn’t exclusive to Agnus, yet only Agnus was harshly criticized. Why? It was because he was easy to deal with. The Agnus of a few years ago had been the head of a huge organization called Immortal while the current Agnus was alone. He was easy prey because his position was weak, just like when he was falsely accused and on the guillotine. The people who once envied him for running wild in the world without any fear were now trying to touch him.
‘That person named Zelgah is counting on this and targeting Agnus.’
Zelgah was the essence behind it. He used the people’s fear of Berith and turned Berith into a target to be avoided rather than raided. The players of the ‘absolute majority’ weren’t capable of raiding Berith and easily agreed with Zelgah, causing the enthusiasm of those dreaming of raiding Berith to cool down. In the end, Berith entered the vicinity of the Haken Kingdom, but no players were willing to stop him.
‘Based on what I see, the Stone of Life isn’t what Zelgah wants.’
The destruction of the Haken Kingdom—this was Zelgah’s wish. There was no other way to interpret the situation. Kraugel was convinced.
‘There is the Yatan Church behind him.’
The purpose of the Yatan Church was to summon the 33 great demons and turn the world into hell. From their perspective, they didn’t want Berith to be raided. However, if they openly helped Berith, then they would be pointed out as the enemy of the entire human race and completely isolated. Thus, they played tricks by using Zelgah.
‘In the first place, Agnus was framed by the Yatan Church for killing the accessory makers...’
The Yatan Church’s plan was to protect Berith and eradicate Agnus. The influence of the public and media could be maximized because they exerted influence in the background.
She was first on the black magician rankings and someone who possessed enormous wealth and power as one of Yatan’s Servants. When Kraugel met her by chance, Rose’ attitude had been kind and friendly.
‘In fact, she might be a scary woman.’
In any case, it was a headache. Since people stopped coming to raid Berith, Kraugel had to fight Berith purely with Kirinus, Rachel, and Rachel’s knights. It was a struggle without any helpers. Kirinus’ life could be in danger.
‘It might be presumptuous... but I have to ask Hao and Alexander to participate.’
Kraugel needed enough power to open up a chance to retreat at any time. Thinking this, Kraugel pressed the button of his smartwatch.
The imperial army barely reached the ruins after a few weeks of sailing. They came here in a hurry as reinforcements for the vanguard. After more than a month, they arrived at the historical site and had to quickly join the vanguard to support them. However, the procession of the soldiers wasn’t smooth, and the marching rate was as slow as a tortoise.
The 10,000 soldiers and dozens of nobles were busy looking at each other with distrustful eyes. At the centre was Huroi, who was disguised as Earl Baget.
“Huhuhut...” He was the only laughing man in the procession of 10,000 troops who were filled with confusion and anger. Huroi was very pleased with the current situation that occurred due to his high-level incitement.
‘I have delayed the meeting of the empire’s advance team and the reinforcements by three times the original length of time. I should be proud and consider it a great success.’
His liege, King Grid, had already arrived at the site and must’ve had a hard time exploring while avoiding the eyes of the empire. He might’ve suffered hair loss because he was threatened by the powerful imperial army led by three dukes.
‘If the empire’s reinforcements arrive in such a crisis...’
His liege would suffer a greater crisis and would have to give up on his exploration of the ruins. However, Huroi had taken action. The supreme loyalist managed to use maneuvers to prevent the empire’s reinforcements from arriving in a timely manner, helping King Grid to explore the ruins. Huroi was confident that he had been active enough. He shrugged as he was reminded that Grid was somewhere praising him.
Marquis Fulbas approached Huroi and sighed, “Hah.”
The marquis’ eyes, which used to be full of energy, were long dead now. The dark circles under his eyes had also deepened. He had been suffering too much during the last few months. Marquis Fulbas felt betrayed by the colleagues he trusted his whole life, and every day was like hell.
Huroi got rid of his smile and faithfully played the role of Earl Baget. He looked at Marquis Fulbas with a worried expression. “You look very sad.”
Marquis Fulbas said to him, “There is a rumor that Earl Silva is talking nonsense again.”
“No, really? That dog again... No, why are you worried about his absurd insinuations?”
“He said that my daughter, who married two years ago, would be with her husband for 100 years.”
“N-No? Such shit...! That son of a bitch! He is truly a lowly human!”
“Haha... That’s right. I never dreamed that I would hear such a terrible curse in my life.”
Marquis Fulbas’ daughter had married a 41-year-old man. It was an arranged marriage. Marquis Fulbas had always felt guilty for being forced to send his daughter to an older man. The marquis hoped that his white-haired son-in-law, who recently started to suffer from dementia, would die as soon as possible. He prayed that his daughter would be able to enjoy freedom, even if it was late. Yet Earl Silva, who had been respectful to him for 20 years, was hoping that his daughter would spend 100 years with her husband. A great shock and sense of betrayal caused Marquis Fulbas’ eyes to darken. He felt there was no one in this world he could believe in.
“This... It is disgraceful behavior.”
Was he not supposed to treat people with charity and kindness? It meant he had been living wrong. This feeling of skepticism caused Marquis Fulbas to hurriedly wipe his wet eyes. He was ashamed and unable to raise his head.
“Please take this.” Huroi handed him a handkerchief. It was a handkerchief that smelled like chicken poop, but Marquis Fulbas felt thankful.
“Earl Baget. I only have you now.”
“I will never betray the marquis.”
Then it happened while they were absorbed in the conversation.
“There is nothing in the temple.”
“I was able to find traces of a huge battle near the temple.”
At the summit of the mountain that was past the jungle, the knights returned after searching the temple there and gave a report.
“A huge battle? I thought the followers only emerge one by one?” Drunk Duke Diworth responded immediately while drinking a bottle of alcohol and scratching his stomach. “That means it wasn’t a fight against the followers?”
Diworth’s eyes glittered for the first time in awhile. He had been annoyed by the pathetic actions of the nobles fighting each other in the back. He focused his eyes, directly checked the signs of battle near the temple, and lowered his gaze down the mountain. Far away, a vast expanse of reeds could be seen. Blood stained the reeds that had been cut or crushed to pieces.
“The blood hasn’t dried yet. Let’s hurry.” Diworth went in front of the nobles who were busy questioning and doubting each other. He decided that the advance team and Overgeared Kingdom had already met each other and were fighting. Diworth believed that the advance team were tracking the Overgeared Kingdom.
‘I can’t let Grid talk about Piaro.’
He admired Piaro, but the other dukes who still missed him would be agitated. It was hard to tell how Grid would take advantage of their agitation. Before that, he should join the advance team and cut off Grid’s head.
Diworth started to descend the mountain quickly. It was a speed that didn’t take the soldiers into consideration. In the first place, Diworth seemed to think he was only accompanied by nobles and knights.
‘This—!’ Huroi anxiously chased after the procession as the marching speed accelerated sharply.
On the other hand, Grid’s party...
“Pant... Pant... Pant...”
The difficulty of the ruins rose rapidly starting from the reeds. The Overgeared members, who barely managed to break through the reed field after a few days of struggle, faced a crisis without time for a break. It was because the followers who had learned six secret techniques started to appear in groups of four.
There were even those who had learned the ‘unconditional counterattack’ and ‘unconditional avoidance of skills seen more than twice.’ Surrounded by 30 followers, the Overgeared members and dukes were exhausted. It was enough to make them think that this expedition was impossible.
‘It is a pity to eat the White Peach here. If I link 100,000 Army Swordsmanship and open up Astaroth’s Strength, it might be possible to open up the path of retreat.’
Grid’s vision flashed red. Vantner was in a dying state, and Grid’s health was also falling to dangerous levels as he acted as a tank in front. He had a means to break through the immediate crisis, but there was the question of how much trust he could place in the dukes.
Yura came up to the hesitating Grid. Armed with shining armor as white as her skin, she spoke with a determined expression, “I’ll summon the elemental king.”
In fact, she was also hesitant. She couldn’t easily judge if she should let it be known that she had contracted with an elemental king. However, Grid and her colleagues were currently in a desperate situation. She couldn’t ignore her colleagues because of political issues. A circle of light was drawn around Yura as she started the summoning.
“Wait!” Lauel stretched out his hand on behalf of Grid, who couldn’t easily make a decision. An elemental was a power that most humans coveted. More than that, the empire’s desire for the elementals would be great. Exposing the elemental king in a situation where they couldn’t be sure of the relationship between the empire and Overgeared Kingdom was going to be risky.
Thus, Lauel tried to stop Yura, but the dukes were one step faster.
“There are very few people in the empire who know why I am called the Immortal King.”
Grid didn’t show it, but the dukes showed it first. Grenhal started taking off the armor he had been wearing the whole time. From his gauntlets and leggings to his helmet, shield, and even body armor—every time a heavy piece of equipment fell to the ground, a loud noise rang out due to the heavy weight.
Grenhal revealed a scarred and muscular body. His eyes were stained with a red light. A berserker—he was an ultimate fighter who showed extreme attack power and blood-sucking ability as more of his health was consumed. This was Grenhal’s reality.
“Not many people know why I am the Beast King. It is because they die the moment they figure out the reason.” Then Morse’s body became covered with rough beast-like fur as his teeth and nails sharpened.
Perhaps the reality that Beastman Toon would ultimately reach could be seen through Morse. At this point, the gazes of the party members focused on Basara. The embarrassed Basara blushed. “I-I can’t transform like that.”